Infamous booster Nevin Shapiro allegedly hung out with Dwyane Wade, Shaq, along with rest of Miami

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It was only really a matter of time, honestly. Nevin Shapiro is the infamous convict who ran a Ponzi scheme and recently provided enough detailed evidence of widespread corruption and NCAA violation at the University of Miami to tarnish their reputation for a decade. The U is a nuclear wasteland right now as the NCAA tries to figure out what to do about the rampant violations that have gone on throughout the years, whether they’re bad enough to supersede their standard statute of limitations, and exactly how much money went to hookers. That’s right, hookers.

As all this happened in Miami, and the circles of athletics tend to loop out into Venn diagrams of absurdity with the higher levels, especially as many U athletes who knew and trusted Nevin became professional athletes who knew and trusted Shapiro, that eventually there would be some brief, grazing impact with the Heat. It’s simply too unlikely that no member of the Heat and Shapiro ever crossed paths. Turns out, the Miami Herald reports that it wasn’t just a path crossing. They report that Shapiro and two very prominent members of NBA society in the mid-00’s knew Shapiro according to the incarcerated former booster, as told by Lucky Strikes bowling alley co-owner Brian D. Elias:

Elias said while that may have happened under his nose, he doesn’t remember seeing Shapiro at Lucky Strike often with UM players. But he does remember Shapiro ringing up similar tabs while he partied with his girlfriend and others.

“He would go there virtually every weekend to watch college and pro football,” Elias said. “It got to a point where we would speak every time I saw him there. We became friends. He may not have been tall in stature. But he had a huge personality. Everybody liked him. People gravitated to him, I’m not talking about football players, I’m talking about people in general. He liked to brag about not just UM [players], but anybody, playing around with Dwyane Wade, Shaq, the Chief of Police. He never ever, ever, mentioned to me he had a tournament bowling for dollars at Lucky Strike in all the times I knew him.

via Eye on the U | Lucky Strike co-owner said UM President Donna Shalala ‘shouldn’t be demonized’ in infamous photo.

So the owner of a bowling alley who used to talk with Shapiro years ago says that Shapiro said he hung out with Shaq and Wade.

Well, I’m convinced 100% that this is completely accurate!

You’re going to find a lot of these kinds of ancillary connections to Shapiro all over Miami. He operated in the biggest clubs, the most known spots, knew the most powerful people. You don’t rip off millions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme hanging out with the staff at T.G.I.Friday’s. So it’s entirely possible he was introduced to Shaq and Wade at some point. It’s possible they may have run in similar circles at one point. It’s conceivable they were friends.

HEADLINES READ: NEVIN SHAPIRO AND DWYANE WADE BFF

This is a scandal that rocked Miami’s athletic community. No one’s going to be left untouched by the end of it. Let’s just hope the good name of Antoine Walker isn’t dragged into this.

(HT: EOB)

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.